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South Dakota District Office

Success Stories

Success Stories

When Dr. Michaels opened the Hartford Veterinary Clinic in 2009, her business brought a much needed service that had not been in Hartford for more than 20 years. Her business also generated additional tax revenue for the community and created jobs for skilled employees and young people who may be interested in pursuing a career in veterinary science. The clinic works exclusively with small animals such as dogs and cats, provides preventative and corrective surgeries and is a source of a variety of retail items such as pet food, toys, leashes and grooming supplies. In addition to the clinic being a valuable asset to Hartford and a new business opportunity for Dr. Michaels, it also allowed for Dr. Michaels and her husband to raise their four sons closer to the rest of their family. Dr. Michaels has made her presence and the presence of her business known in the community as she is involved with professional organizations, family and social organizations and provides a semiannual... Read More



Kevin & Emily Berg, Owners
First Manufacturing LLC
Humboldt, South Dakota

What do two mechanical engineering students at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology do after writing a business plan together for a class?  They graduate, get married and start the business of course.  Kevin and Emily Berg, owners of First Manufacturing LLC, did just that.   Starting as a small home-based machine shop with only a manual mill and a manual lathe, First Manufacturing originally opened in Rocklin, California, in January 2003, but relocated to South Dakota later that year.  As small business owners, they had questions about hiring employees, marketing and growing their sales, and contacted the Sioux Falls Small Business Development Center in Sioux Falls.  The SBDC assisted the Bergs in leveraging their own investment dollars to obtain financing through a local lender and the APEX loan program of the... Read More

South Dakota 2011 Small Business Person Of The Year

Leigh Kamstra, Chef/Owner of Roma's Ristorante located in Spearfish, South Dakota. 

For 37 years an old, stone, dilapidated building stood empty in Spearfish, South Dakota.  But it caught the eye of a college student who was then attending Black Hills State University.  Leigh Kamstra didn’t know exactly at the time how or why, but she knew somehow her future would be in that building.  It would be several years before she would have her answer.

With a head for numbers and bookkeeping abilities, Leigh earned her degree in business and a minor in computer science.  After graduation, she spent 10 years in the banking industry in California and Denver.  Then one day in 1994 after a very stressful day at the office, Leigh saw a commercial for a culinary arts degree program offered through the Colorado Institute of Art.  It was like a light bulb went off in her head and this businesswoman made a spontaneous decision – she was going to chuck her successful banking... Read More